Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Boy Named Omar

Today I went to the Children's Hospital in Long Beach to visit a friend whose baby may be having surgery there soon. She introduced me to the "baby" next door, who was sharing the room with her son. Omar is 23 months old and was admitted a month ago for Shaken Baby Syndrome. As I gently walked over to this boy's crib, which had thick padding covering each side, I was met by huge puppy-dog brown eyes staring back at me. He quietly laid there, soaking in the 3 pairs of eyes that were now looking back at him. Janet, Jessica and I smiled at him and reached our hands in to touch his still body. He responded immediately and smiled back at us. I couldn't hold back my tears as I looked at this helpless little boy who had been shaken by his father in a fit of anger and now lay in the hospital with brain damage and no control over his arms or legs. He had been there a month, and Jessica told us that when he was brought in, he had turned blind and deaf from the abuse. Previous to the "incident" he had been a healthy, happy, normal little boy who walked and talked. Jessica told us that in the last 2 days they started to see improvements in him, and he turned over in his crib and started to see people and respond to their voices.

What broke my heart was the thought of this little boy, all alone, who had been laying in this crib for an entire month. He doesn't understand where he is or why his father and mother are not around.  His mother only has one 2-hour monitored visit with him a week.  He sees strangers every day. He doesn't have toys to play with, and can barely see the TV from his bed when it is on. He is fed through an IV. Jessica said that she hears him crying sometimes in the middle of the night and she goes in, takes him out and holds him. This is in addition to caring for her own baby who barely sleeps through the night. Jessica told us that Social Services has been trying to place him in a foster home, but nobody will take him because he requires 24 hour care.

When I looked into this boys' face, I saw glimpses of Micah. Omar laughed when Jessica tickled him. He smiled when we played "peek-a-boo" through the slats in the crib. He wanted to get out and play, and he even tried to lift his head. I cannot tell you the depth of my heartache today. I just felt so helpless. Helpless to help this little baby who needed to be held and loved. It is obvious that he would begin to recover if he just had the right stimulation every day. I came home and told Martin about Omar, and he cried too. We both want to bring this boy home, but we know we can't. Even if we wanted to, our current living situation would not be approved by Social Services to take in another child. But I came home with just a burden in my heart to pray for Omar - that God would bring him a family, very soon. And I also feel so compelled that it is the church's responsibility to care for these children - to take them in when no one else will.

We are going to try to see him again tomorrow. I will try to take a picture of him if I can and post it soon. Please pray for Omar. These babies, these "orphans" if you will, are not in Romania or Europe or some far-off orphanage; they are in our own backyard. These things make us really think about what our calling is as Christians... Please hold your children a little tighter, love them a little stronger, and be patient with them when you are mad. One split decision in a fit of rage is all it takes, and we cannot think that we are exempt.


  1. Oh wow. I want to bring him home too. I have given thought before to doing foster care down the road...this gives me even a stronger desire.

  2. How horrible for Omar :( He needs so much love - I will be praying.

  3. Wow, this breaks my heart too. I started my day thinking about little Omar. I'm praying too.

  4. Oh Jaimie! I will definitely be praying for him. Keep us posted.